Business

Frontier Building Supply's tradition keeps growing on Whidbey Island

Michele Skyles, a representative from Orepac building products, cuts Patrick O’Neill’s hair during the belt sander races held at Frontier Building Supply. His mane was donated to Locks of Love.     - Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times
Michele Skyles, a representative from Orepac building products, cuts Patrick O’Neill’s hair during the belt sander races held at Frontier Building Supply. His mane was donated to Locks of Love.
— image credit: Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times

A group of builders working around Whidbey Island took a day off Friday to enjoy some light-hearted fun while helping a charitable cause at the same time.

Families, builders and vendors came to Frontier Building Supply, located north of Oak Harbor, to enjoy the annual belt-sander races.

Sixteen people brought their favorite sander to the wood track to see which one was the fastest.

With speeds averaging 14 mph, Tom Walker of Harstine Island, located near Shelton, was the speediest of the bunch.

“We going to Anacortes,” Walker said while holding his Porter Cable belt sander he named “Sand Devil.” He had attached the head of a red devil to the front of his sander.

He will compete in a run-off scheduled in Anacortes on Aug. 2.

Oak Harbor was the second stop of Frontier Building Supply’s 2013 belt-sander races, which kicked off at the Sedro Woolley location. The races continue at the Freeland store at noon Friday before the final stop and championship round in Anacortes the following week.

John Vandewal, manager of Frontier Building Supply in Oak Harbor, said the races have been an annual event for at least seven years.

“We had a good turnout,” Vandewal said of the crowd.

They enjoyed a tournament-style series of races, along with food and a group of vendors who were eager to meet with the various contractors who attended.

Two Oak Harbor police officers were on hand with a radar gun to document the velocity of the hand-held machines.

Amid the festive nature of the races came a chance to help a charity at the same time.

Patrick O’Neill, assistant manager at Frontier Building Supply, hadn’t cut his hair in nearly two years. He was growing it out so it could be chopped off and donated to Locks of Love, a nonprofit organization that provides hairpieces to children suffering from longterm hair loss due to illness.

Organizers brought in a dunk tank and money raised from people purchasing throws was also donated to Locks of Love.

Vandewal points out that the belt-sander races are open to the public. The next round of races take place Friday, July 26 at noon at 1800 Main St. in Freeland.

 

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